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Friday, June 1, 2012

entertain me: "snow white and the huntsman" review

Let’s get this straight right away. This is not the Disneyfied version of Snow White that parents everywhere have been reading to their kids for years. This Snow White is not delicate and sweet. She is, however, fair and fierce. She is Joan of Arc meets Princess of Steel. In the hands of director Rupert Sanders, “Snow White and the Huntsmen” is dark, gritty and beautiful (especially with Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood working her magic.)
As the titular character Snow White, “Twilight” star Kristen Stewart easily leaves behind her lip-biting, hair-twirling Bella Swan for this Princess who wears a suit of armor as easily as a beaded velvet gown. Charlize Theron stars as Ravenna, the Evil Queen who married Snow’s widowed father then mudered him. While we may have thought the Evil Queen was scary in the Disney version of the film when we were little kids, this version of the queen is much much worse, especially as she nibbles on the hearts of ravens as if they were little truffled bonbons. This is nothing, though, compared to the young maidens she offs by sucking their life out of them and thus preserving her youth and beauty. 

And like the story we all know, the Evil Queen one day asks her (again creepy) mirror who is the fairest of them all. Her response this time is that it is Snow White, her stepdaughter she had locked away in a tower who is now the fairest in the kingdom and to preserve her youth and beauty she must have Snow’s heart. 
Snow White, meanwhile, is a survivor, outwitting the Evil Queen’s nefarious brother, finding herself living by her young wits as she escapes her prison in the castle. Enter The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) a drunken widower with nothing to lose as he is charged by the Evil Queen to hunt for Snow White in the forest. Also looking for Snow White is her long lost childhood friend, now Duke William (Sam Claflin). And of course, in addition to the Prince and the Evil Queen, there must be seven dwarves, right? Happy, jaunty dwarves names Happy, Dopey and Doc? No. Remember this is the gritty version. These dwarves have names like Grot, Quert and Gus and there are not happy. 
What is wonderful about this version of Snow White is that the characters are there but they are played out in such a new, dark, gritty way that it seems like an entirely new story. You think you know the story. You wait for things to fall into place then they are twisted and things don’t happen like you expect them to and that is why this works. There are surprises, deliciously wicked surprises around every corner of this film. 
Who should see this film: 
Fans of Kristen Stewart will be lining up to see this movie but rest assured, if you are not a fan, you will still love her version of Snow White.  
If you’ve already seen “The Avengers” and “Men in Black 3” then see this film this weekend.
Date night? Absolutely. 
Movies with friends? Yes, definitely. 
Movies with kids? Hmmm. Maybe not the young ones. The Evil Queen truly is frightening on the same par as the Wicked Witch from “The Wizard of Oz.”  So if your kids are fearful of The Wicked Witch they are NOT going to like this Evil Queen. There is quite a bit of violence. Go conservative on this one.

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